Aimed at ensuring that adoption remains a protective measure offered to children, the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development (WCD) is working at bringing in the “core ingredients of the adoption guidelines currently being followed by India under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, giving it legal strength and force’’.

Explaining this latest move by the Ministry, WCD Secretary Prem Narain said: “These checks and balances are important to ensure that children benefit from adoption and that there are no cases of abuse. We have also asked all the organisations dealing with adoption across India to register, without which they will not be allowed to continue their work. India has registered an increase in domestic adoption and a fall in the number of international adoptions.’’

The Secretary was speaking at the two-day 3rd international conference on adoption organised by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, that began here on Tuesday.The conference is aimed at providing a platform to discuss the main issues relating to adoption; current trends, policy and safeguards in adoption and seeks feedback from receiving countries and Indian agencies about the ground level problems. The participants at the conference include foreign central authorities dealing with adoption, foreign diplomatic missions in India, Authorised Foreign Adoption Agencies (AFAA), representatives from State Governments, State Adoption Resource Agencies (SARA), Recognised Indian Placement Agencies (RIPA), Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAA) and older adoptees.

Stating that India was committed to early placement of children with their adopted parents, the Secretary said: “Delays in adoption results in the children staying in the child care home and institutions longer. We have three prime areas of concern--malpractice in the process of adoption, ensure that there is priority for domestic adoption and the need to follow ethical standards and protocols in adoption.’’

Stressing the need for better care of children in India, WCD Minister Krishna Tirath noted in her inaugural speech: “Children are our country’s biggest resource and the adoption scenario in India today has more parents waiting as children legally free for adoption are very few.’’

“The wait period is therefore long and in order to meet this situation the WCD Ministry and CARA have taken several measures to address this. We have requested all the State Governments to ensure that all children who are without family care be brought into the adoption system, irrespective of their age or special needs,’’ said the Minister, adding that there was a need for higher degree of ethics in the adoption process.

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